Auto Insurance Rates

How to Save Money on Your Auto Insurance

If you're like most Americans, you have to earmark a significant chunk of cash for various types of insurance every month, including auto insurance. It's one of those recurring bills, like electricity or your rent. Unless you give up your car and adopt shank's mare as your primary method of transportation, your insurance bill will always be there; but your auto insurance rates don't have to be a big headache. That's what this article is all about: saving you some money.

The basics

It's not necessarily easy to find a good deal on auto insurance rates (no matter what the commercials might claim), especially if your driving record isn't spotless -- but it can be done. Most of the methods for saving money on auto insurance are basic common-sense approaches that can work for anyone. They may or may not be immediately useful, but if practiced over time, they can end up paring your car insurance rates down significantly.

First of all, it never hurts to clean up your record and keep it clean. If you want to ensure your auto insurance rates are reasonable, don't just go ahead and pay tickets when you get them; otherwise they'll show up in the size of your premiums the next time you renew. Instead, take the opportunity to take defensive driving if you can. It's a mighty hassle, but it's generally cheaper than paying the ticket, and it's certainly cheaper than paying higher car insurance premiums. If you can't do defensive driving, ask about deferred adjudication. Many municipalities are willing to work out a deal whereby you don't have to pay the ticket if you don't get another one in a set amount of time, say 90-180 days. If you do, however, you'll have to pay both tickets at once, and they'll both go onto your driving record -- and your auto insurance rates will certainly go up.

You can also save on your auto insurance rates by taking slightly more draconian measures. For example, put your highest-risk driver (say, your 17-year-old son) in the safest, lowest-risk car, such as a Volvo, and make sure you've let the insurance company know he's assigned to it. He may not like it, but your insurance company will, and down will go the rates. Your premiums will also fall if you simply get rid of insurance you don't need. Do you really need comp-and-collision coverage on that 1979 AMC Pacer? Didn't think so.

Ya better shop around

Smoky Robinson's mama told him he'd better shop around, and this applies as much to auto insurance rates as to anything else. In fact, depending on your driving record, insurance shopping may be the best way to save money on your car insurance. Often the savings are substantial, amounting to hundreds of dollars a year -- sometimes more if you're willing to pay the entire amount at once, rather than monthly. A good time to shop for lower auto insurance rates is when you move, especially if you move to another state. Other great times include when you get a new car, when you get married, or when you retire or change jobs, and just need lower your bills.

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